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Monday, July 09, 2012

A couple must-reads

Vaguely apropos the end of my last post, I want to point you to Marshall Poe's wonderful new essay in Inside Higher Ed, which explores the moral imperatives toward open-access university press publishing. I think Poe's right on the money.

Less relevant to us as academics but more relevant as persons interested in plain justice and the veneer of law, you've got to check out this very interesting blog post (and what will be a series of posts on Obama's lethal presidency) by Tom Junod over at Esquire's politics blog. Junod's blog discusses the killing of Al-Alwaki's American son by drone missile and its putative legality.

Some of you know I favor a strong forward lean on terrorists and this seemingly endless war with the Islamofascists. (And yes, there's a personal component to it, having lost my childhood best friend to a pipe bomb on a Tel Aviv beach back in 1990. Discount or consider accordingly.) Nonetheless, ever since Charlie Savage's clutch reporting in the NYT has made clear to us the scope of the problem, I have been very disappointed by the secret legal reasoning that Obama has relied upon to warrant his selection of targets and his authorization of the killing of those targets, even when they're American citizens. I love so much of this country, but the idea that there's a secret document propounded from within the Executive branch that explains the rationale for killing putatively innocent 16 year old American citizens is abhorrent to those of us who cherish rule of law values about a knowable and known source of law.

I hope that those reading this blog -- those who (also) consider themselves friends of the Obama regime, and those who are his devoted political opponents -- will continue to press for transparency and accountability in this respect. It's one thing to say to suspected American terrorists, you're on our knock list unless you surrender peacefully in the next 15 days, at which point you can receive due process. A more modest approach is Junod's prescription: an ex post accounting of any dead Americans killed abroad by the American government. But we apparently have no hope under the current administration for such weak but non-trivial procedural protections ex ante or for ex post oversight. Instead we have a different regime altogether, one where it's permissible to kill American children abroad without any such notice and safe opportunity to surrender, and on grounds that are inscrutable to all outside the White House. Shame shame.  Obama can do better, and we deserve better as a nation. Pass the sunlight, please. And Republicans, feel free to use this as fodder for your daily foolishness scrums with the Dems too, but remember, what's good for the goose is good for the gander.

 

Posted by Dan Markel on July 9, 2012 at 10:48 PM in Constitutional thoughts, Current Affairs, Dan Markel | Permalink

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